Nepenthe 2018

Nepenthe 2018

I joined the Mountaineers October 20th 2016. Even before that I had always believed magic was real, but the forum and its secrets gave those beliefs shape. Less than a month after I joined I had a strange dream, one that I largely credit for sending me down the Gossmere path. I never shared the dream, but I did share what became of it, Operation Nepenthe. This year, with all we have uncovered and discovered, I think it’s time I shared the whole story.

The Dream

It was autumn, that part of autumn where winter is braying on the winds and the golden leaves are frosted in white. I was in Central Park, but it wasn’t Central Park… There was something fundamentally different about it. The air tasted different, and the trees moved in slow rhythmic dances even when the winds were violently powerful. I watched as a group of strangers came into view, all wearing flowing clothing and bearing kind open smiles. I watched as a girl who could not have been much older than me placed a thick gold coin into the palm of a man who was holding a cardboard sign, I watched the exchange of kind words that was shared, before she was gone… off to follow the procession of what I now believe to be a Gossmerim tribe celebrating the festival of giving. I followed them along the path for awhile, but it was like I could never catch up. No matter how fast I was, they seemed always a yard or so ahead of me. Occasionally one would stop, to offer a blanket or a warm drink, pick up a piece of trash of set down a tray of milk for a feral cat. I watched in pure wonder, feeling my heart melt in marvel at these acts of random compassion. It was one that stuck out so clearly in my mind, a young man, somewhere between me and Augo in age, bending over this elderly woman. He wrapped a thick tan scarf around her and smiled. No words were said in the dream, just the sharing from one heart to another.

Obviously I chalked up the dream to being some flight of whimsy, but it did inspire me to start Operation Nepenthe. I remember when a fellow mountie asked me where I had found the name I couldn’t give them an answer. I just couldn’t place it. However, a few weeks ago me and Augo were exploring our guild hall; tending to the Hearth and exploring the plains. Among some rubble of what might have once been a small village, whose houses had been comprised of large birds nests tented with colorful ribbons, we found a scroll. It was a poem telling the tale of the ancient Gossmerim tribes celebrating Nepenthe, the festival of giving.


That’s incredible! What a find, I can’t wait to hear about it.


The scroll we found was tucked away in a box of mementos: there was a small, framed, black-and-white photograph of a little girl, a tiny metal bee charm on a blue and white piece of string, a pin-back button whose design had long since faded away, a business card from a printing company in New York, and this poem. It was written on crackly, yellowing paper. It looked so fragile, we dared not try to bring it back to Earth from Neithernor, so I committed the poem to memory:


I hope for my children to find the Guide

and for the Guide to bring them to Gossmere.

Here, under these wild stars, giving is also wild.

Under that fixed firmament, giving is clad in trappings and expectations,

but not so here, under our free stars.

Beneath the unchanging sky, they stand together against the cold months to come.

Here in this place, the seasons do as they please;

we stand together to be together, not out of fear of what lies ahead.

Here, there is no fear. There is wonder.

We give for love, for kindness and, always, for wonder.

This is Nepenthe: unfettered giving. Unfettered love.

When my eyes close for the last time beneath these wild stars,

My Gossmere children will still give freely, give wildly.

Nepenthe will live on.


Wow Augo, you got it :heart_eyes:
It was so hard to leave that poem behind but like Augo said, it was too risky. Thanks so much for bringing it back!
Such a lovely poem, makes you wonder who wrote it, and what inspired them to do so.


It seems it’s that time of year again folks–the festival of giving is upon us, and Operation Nepenthe is about to have her third annual run!
This year, however, we are excited to announce some changes.
Nepenthe will run the length of December, and while we understand the holidays are a busy time for everyone, we hope everyone will have an opportunity to embrace their inner Gossmere. This year, Nepenthe is going to cover a plethora of random acts of kindness; small spells, all of them, cast and given by you!
Whether you offer your time at a local soup kitchen, leave change for someone in need, take in a stray during this cold part of the year, or in any other possible way contribute to your community–You are practicing Nepenthe, which is a rare and beautiful magiq all its own.
On top of all that, when you do one of these acts of kindness you will have the opportunity to document it and share it on the forums. In doing so you will have your name entered into a raffle, and at the end of the month there will be a drawing. Three names will be pulled and win mysterious prizes!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I look forward to seeing your magiqal acts of kindness this holiday season!


First Prize Reveal:

One of the prizes all entered names will be in the running for is a guild scarf, made with love by yours truly! It can include any two guild colors you would like, and will be the perfect way to show off your guild pride this holiday season!

Reminder that entering your name is super easy! Posting pictures of good and charitable acts on this thread or on instagram using #actsofmagiq, or posting here documenting your experience, will immediately enter you into the running


I’ll start and if my name is chosen at the end of the month, you can choose the next person. :slight_smile:

This happened a while back, but I was walking the dogs and saw a woman having trouble getting a flat tire off her cab on a busy street. The lug nuts were REALLY stuck.

I took the dogs up, went to our building’s garage, got our jack and lug wrench and worked on getting the lugs off for about half an hour, managing to get half undone before bending our lug wrench, making it useless.

Finally, I helped flag down another cab who had a better wrench and together (with me literally standing on the wrench and jumping) we got the lugs off, got the flat tire changed and got her on her way.

I was a tired, sweaty mess, but it felt good to be someone’s guardian angel for an hour.


That’s awesome, Saber!


Like @Saberlane, this was a little while ago, but…

The Ackerly Green Fellowship is a GREAT way to show your kindness to a particularly unique, beautiful community for Nepenthe! (… I love a good shameless plug.)


Taking Nepenthe to heart, I made a positive change (hopefully) in my chem class today.
Background: My chem and chem lab courses are linked and so I see some of the same people in both. In my lab particularly, I ended up sitting next to a guy (Josh) that was a bit older than most and told me that he wasn’t good with sciences. As the weeks went on he started contacting me for help with the different lab homework and I did by best to help him out with it. However, when it came to the chem class itself he never asked me for any help with concepts but still mentioned how he understood very little of it.

In chem I sit alone near an exit door for the classroom, and generally to get to the side of the room I sit on, I pass Josh who sits on the opposite side of the room, near the entrance. We’re entering into studying and review for our last exam and final, and I decided that I wanted to sit next to Josh today, just in case he had any questions. We spent a lot of the class talking back and forth when topics came up, and to my knowledge we both benefited quite a bit from sitting together in the actual class learning about the topics that we put into effect in the lab. I really hope that I helped him out and I look forwards to sitting with him for the remainder of the semester.


tomorrow, before we do our regularly scheduled dnd 5e game, i think im gonna seek out a busker of some kind, and play a collaboration with them. dunno if its gonna be anything interesting but ill toss em whatever change i make too, so i hope that counts.


Last night I was pulling an all-nighter (which are generally pretty easy for me), but eventually I felt pulled towards sleep. It felt different than being normally tired though, so I took the hint and called it a night. I then had a dream I certainly wasn’t expecting, and I think it was because of my Nepenthe act yesterday.

The Dream:

I woke up inside the Castle of Vines, except it was not the same Castle we know now. This one was much younger; cleaner as well, less vine-y. I heard a lot of movement outside the main doors and walked through them to see what was the cause of the noise. I was taken by surprise at the blast cold air that greeted me and realized that this Neithernor was experiencing our equivalent of winter; and it was by no means holding back. Although the sky clear now, it was obvious that it had been snowing heavily for quite some time. A group of warmly-clad Balimora were working on diminishing a seemingly endless amount of snowfall. It was a chaotic hub of activity, some using spells like weathemancy to try and disperse snowfall, some using uproot to introduce plants that could use the snow for water, many using handmade shovels to transport snow.
It was quite a sight of energy, but it didn’t look like they were making enough leeway. They constantly had to pause in intervals and head back into the castle for warmth, or simply collapse from exhaustion, the perspiration on their faces quickly freezing. Something within me knew I should help; however, a different part of me knew that in this dream that was not my purpose.

Suddenly, amidst the hustle and bustle of work, activity seemed to simultaneously stop and surge. The Balimora that were clearing snow paused, and the ones that were lying down rose to their feet. They had all turned to look towards the wilds, the sound of rustling trees and plants as something emerged from the snow covered canopies. Rather than something though, it was someone. A whole lot of someones. They were all dressed in pale yellow winter gear, with lanterns in hand and smiles across their faces. I knew immediately that it was the Gossmere tribe, come to lend a hand.
Immediately, they dispersed throughout the Balimora ranks, some taking over the shoveling duty from tired workers, while others distributed pairs of yellow winter gloves. The rest, armed with teapots steaming with hot drink, gathered the exhausted numbers and walked with them into the castle for relaxation and merriment. I looked out upon the tribe that selflessly went to work on the herculean task before them and noticed that though they had already began to sweat with effort, their smiles never vanished, in fact, they looked be be widening. Inside I heard laughter and chatter, and upon opening bak through the doors I saw that the smiles had also spread to the Balimora as well.

Both guilds sat intermixed throughout the main floor, warming themselves together with hot drinks. They shared stories of what they’d all been up to as food was brought out from the kitchen. It was clear that Gossmere had come not just to socialize, but to spread charity and ease purely for the sake of generosity. The intense emotions of community and caring I felt, inside and outside of the Castle, filled me with immense happiness and I knew that this must be the season of Nepenthe at work.


Thats incredible, Helios! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one with ghostie dreams :sweat_smile: seems like the spirits of the guilds before us have noticed that Nepenthe is returning, which is incredible :grin:


Can I just shout out the discord Mounties for a minute? They were lifesavers last night when I was having problems with my sewing project.


Happy Nepenthe, Mountaineeers! Folks have been sharing some really wonderful things that they’ve done so far this month, and you may be asking yourself: “What can I do? I’d like to do good by my common man (and be eligible for some really cool, secret prizes @OracleSage keeps alluding to!).

Well then, young Mountie, I’ve decided to compile a list of helpful hints, tips, and tricks that everyone can feel free to try out this Nepenthe. May I present:

Uncle Augbro’s Guide to Small Kindnesses

  • Make a small craft (e.g. bake cookies, make sugar/salt scrubs, herb sachets, infused syrups, etc) and share it with neighbors, coworkers, classmates - people outside of your normal friend circle. Or people in your friend circle. They matter, too.
  • Write a letter of gratitude to a former teacher, current teacher, or community leader who has inspired you, a nurse or doctor who took care of you or a family member, your school or office administrative or housekeeping staff, or anyone who you may think deserves a word of thanks and appreciation this season.
  • Pay for a stranger’s coffee, breakfast or lunch.
  • Buy a police officer, EMT or firefighter a cup of coffee.
  • Participate in “organized giving” projects that are abundant in December, like toy drives or food drives.
  • Even the smallest donation to a charity can make a big impact.
  • Speaking of donating, a few dollars to the Ackerly Green Community Fellowship can mean that your fellow Mountaineers can enjoy the sense of belonging, immersion and fun that even a small piece of merchandise can bring!
  • Volunteerism opportunities abound! Places like shelters, soup kitchens, family centers, free medical programs, and other community outreach groups always need help, especially in the colder months and holiday seasons.
  • Go through your closet and PURGE! It’s cathartic, the less clutter around the more centered you’ll feel, and someone in your community will definitely make great use of any clothes that don’t quite fit anymore, styles you’ve grown out of, etc.

But, Uncle Augbro? What if I want to remain completely anonymous, but I still want to be eligible for these incredible, yet mysterious EXCLUSIVE Nepenthe prizes that will be revealed over the next week or two?

Easy! Just let @OracleSage or myself know privately that you’ve done an act of kindness, and we’ll post it to the forum (completely de-identified, including name, location, etc). Posting to the forum will help inspire others in our community to do good as well, and give them more ideas beyond what I came up with to participate! We’re certainly open to other ideas on how to participate anonymously, and we’re each only a PM away.

Hope this helps and inspires people! Looking forward to seeing how people celebrate Nepenthe and make the world a little better of a home this season!


Doing some research for the above post, I came across the fact that today, an anonymous donor is matching any gifts to No Kid Hungry (up to $25,000). No Kid Hungry is a great charity that my wife and I have supported for years. They estimate on their website that every $50 buys 500 meals for hungry children right here in the U.S. Happy to have donated to them today!



A little late, but last week I did a couple things:

I donated 2 months of my monthly donation money to a GoFundMe to create a Navajo language TV show aimed at teaching the language in a sesame street-type program (awesome program, here’s the link:

Also, our street doesn’t have recycling cans, we have bins. The other day when I was walking back from class, I noticed that the wind had blown a bunch of the plastic and cardboard from the bins all over the street and into the neighbors yard. I spent like 10 minutes picking everything up and cleaning a bunch of bits of plastic off my neighbor’s driveway and then wedging it all back into the bins so it wouldn’t fly away again. A bunch of my classmates did the same on their side of the street.

I’ve been having a lot of personal issues lately, but helping others helps pull me out of myself and makes me feel a bit better.


In classic Canadian Snow Angel fashion I shovelled my neighbours walk on either side. I don’t know, I just had some good tunes in, and noticed they hadn’t done it yet. There was a pretty slick layer of ice to get through so I hope it helps that it’s gone since my south side neighbours have a small child and an infant and it couldn’t have been easy hauling them into a vehicle while trying not to slip and fall yourself.

I’d take a photo, but I’d rather not put my place of residence on the Internet, ya know?


Today in philosophy we the last of our scheduled debates of the semester. I had gone a week back, so wasnt really invested in the debate. Turns out however that the relative morality side was missing most of its members so a friend and I volunteered to sub in and help as much as we could.
We ended up losing the debate but it was a lot of fun trying to create speeches and arguments on the fly. I sat down with them for lunch afterwords and we exchanged numbers for the upcoming semester.


This feels very trivial, but I figured I’d share anyway…I was out doing some shopping errands and one of the stores was doing a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The cashier asked if I wanted to give a dollar, so I did that.

I have some plans for something a little more…which I’m vague-posting about here for some accountability. Fingers crossed I’ll have something more to post on that front soon!